Modernising parliamentary democracy

Gender equality in Parliament: how random selection could get us there

Gender equality in Parliament: how random selection could get us there

Would choosing the second chamber by sortition be an effective way to achieve a 50:50 balance between men and women? John Dryzek argues that the upper chamber – in Australia as in the UK, a deliberative forum – would be a good place to start, and looks at ways to ensure women sitting in deliberative […]

The trouble with Jeremy Corbyn: five tests the Labour leader is failing

The trouble with Jeremy Corbyn: five tests the Labour leader is failing

Much of the Parliamentary Labour Party want to replace Jeremy Corbyn, and his popularity among the general public is low. Yet he was resoundingly re-elected by party members last autumn. Patrick Diamond assesses the Labour leader’s performance as an opposition leader according to five criteria, and concludes the risk of a Labour schism between ‘principles’ and […]

Women are still outnumbered on Commons select committees

Women are still outnumbered on Commons select committees

Figures from the Select Committee Data Archive Project reveal that women are still outnumbered on Commons select committees, despite a steady increase of female MPs in Westminster. Sophie Wilson looks at the numbers on gender balance of select committees since 1979 and what they mean for parliamentary scrutiny. Similar PostsSelect committees are becoming increasingly significant, […]

Why do the French hate their politicians so much?

Why do the French hate their politicians so much?

The French distrust their politicians and democratic institutions – more so than other Western Europeans. Why? Emiliano Grossman and Nicolas Sauger, authors of Pourquoi détestons-nous nos politiques?, argue that the French presidential system raises unreasonable hopes and expectations that quickly lead to disillusionment among voters. Similar PostsEmmanuel Macron and En Marche! – left, right or […]

It’s time for an end to special religious privileges: we need a secular state

It’s time for an end to special religious privileges: we need a secular state

Should the Anglican peers in the Lords be joined by religious leaders from other faiths? Ought the BBC be required to make religious programmes? Should religious groups enjoy more legal protection? The Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life set out 37 recommendations – which, argues Steven Kettell, are deeply problematic in a society […]

Good news: fielding women candidates doesn’t put parties at a disadvantage in elections

Good news: fielding women candidates doesn’t put parties at a disadvantage in elections

We know women are more likely to be elected under proportional representation, but it hasn’t been clear which aspects of PR benefit them.  Sona N. Golder, Laura B. Stephenson, Karine van der Straeten, André Blais, Damien Bol, Philipp Harfst and Jean-François Laslier designed an experiment in which people could cast (fake) votes for (real) European Parliament […]

We’re taking back control – but who’s going to wield it?

We’re taking back control – but who’s going to wield it?

Britain voted to ‘take back control’ from the EU, and Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech made the repatriation of power to Westminster a priority. But it is far from clear what kind of Brexit Britons want, nor how many of these powers will go to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland rather than the UK Parliament. Katie Ghose […]

Another Lords review bites the dust. What will it take to reform the second chamber?

Another Lords review bites the dust. What will it take to reform the second chamber?

The long saga of abortive Lords reforms goes on. Theresa May has added a new chapter by backing off from her predecessor’s plans to strip the second chamber of its power to vote down statutory instruments – the main form of delegated legislation, which are vital to the UK government’s extensive executive powers and to implementing Brexit. […]

Brexit, Corbyn, Article 50: in 2017, we need to take back our parliamentary democracy

Brexit, Corbyn, Article 50: in 2017, we need to take back our parliamentary democracy

Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn’s election and Article 50: 2016 saw three profound shocks to the integrity of Britain’s parliamentary system, writes Robert Saunders. Together, they amount to a quiet revolution – potentially the most significant recasting of how Britain is governed since the coming of universal suffrage. Understanding how this has happened, why it matters and what […]

How ‘the story’ subsumed ‘The Vote’: we have no meaningful direction about the terms of Brexit

How ‘the story’ subsumed ‘The Vote’: we have no meaningful direction about the terms of Brexit

What did the 52% who voted to leave the EU want? In the first part of a lecture delivered at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, David Kershaw argues that pro-Brexit politicians and media have presumed to interpret the vote as a mandate to ensure Brexit results in the controls on free movement which are likely to […]

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